Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen


Yharnam was Queen of the Pthumerians, a race of superhuman beings that are said to have unlocked the wisdom of the eldritch Truth. The Pthumerians were originally servants of the Great Ones, humble guardians who watched over Their slumber within the tombs of the gods, the old underground labyrinth or chalice dungeons that they carved out below the city of Yharnam. The Yharnam Stone confirms that consciousness persists beyond physical death, so while the Great Ones are referred to as slumbering, it is likely their physical bodies are dead, which would explain why the labyrinth is known as the tombs of the gods. As time wore on, Pthumerian society developed, and their descendants named themselves a monarchical leader. The Pthumerian monarch, known as Pthumeru Ihyll, which was also the name of the Pthumerian capital city, was traditionally a woman who assumed a name with classical roots. The city of Yharnam itself is built atop the old labyrinth from which Yharnam reigned so perhaps the Healing Church, founders of Yharnam who were familiar with the tombs, thought it fit to name their own city after the Pthumerian Queen.

Yharnam is encountered on three separate occasions in the world of Bloodborne, the first is within the Moonside Lake where she stands weeping before the descending blood moon, the second is atop the cradle cathedral in Mergo’s Loft in the Nightmare of Mensis where she looks towards the source of the nightmare newborn’s cries and the final location is deep within the Pthumerian capital city of Ihyll within the chalice dungeons. Her significance to the events that unfold within the game’s story cannot be understated and clues to her involvement perhaps start with her appearance. Like other Pthumerians, Yharnam is much taller than regular humans. Her skin is pale and has a blue hue to it and curiously, her mouth doesn’t gape like the other Pthumerians with her face appearing very human. She is dressed as a bride on her wedding day and no matter where she is encountered, the front of her dress is always stained with blood. Finally, her hands are bound together in handcuffs, and she often keeps them interlocked as if in a gesture of prayer.

Yharnam’s wedding dress indicates that she is betrothed to be married, however marriage in the world of Bloodborne is different to what we might expect, it holds special meaning and is reserved only for those with special qualities:

The inhuman beings known as the Great Ones imbued this
ring of betrothal with some special meaning.
In the age of the Great Ones, wedlock was a blood contract,
only permitted to those slated to bear a special child.
- Ring of Betrothal description

The Ring of Betrothal is a rare item only found in Pthumeru Ihyll root chalice dungeons, further linking it to Yharnam who presides over the capital of Ihyll. When encountered in the Chalice Dungeons Yharnam’s belly is noticeably swollen with child, she is pregnant. Her wedding dress and the Ring of Betrothal description strongly suggest that she is pregnant with a special child, born from a blood contract with a Great One. But her pregnancy did not go well. The Yharnam Stone, an item only retrieved after defeating Yharnam in the Chalice Dungeons is described as a “A sacred heirloom left by Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen.” and the blood shard and stone items elaborate further about what this stone could be:

After death, a substance in the blood hardens, and that
which does not crystallise is called a blood stone.
- Blood Stone description

Looking at the stone itself we can make out the shape of a foetus with eye sockets and even a small hand; Yharnam’s baby didn’t survive the pregnancy, it was stillborn, dying within its mother’s womb before it had a chance to become anything more, after all:

Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate.
- Third Umbilical Cord Description

In her time as leader of the Pthumerians, Yharnam and her special blood appear to have been the fixation of her people. The Blood Rapture rune tells us:

This rune resonates with servants of the Queen, carrier of
the Child of Blood, who yearn for their Queen's blood with
little hope of requitement.
For them, they find solace in "Blood Rapture", that serves as
a surrogate for their desires.
- Blood Rapture rune description

Though there are many seemingly intentional parallels between Yharnam and Queen Annalise (who this rune could also be referring to as it is dropped by both the Shadows of Yharnam and the Bloody Crow of Cainhurst), Yharnam is the only Queen confirmed to have carried a Child of Blood, while Annalise yearns to carry one. The rune tells us that the servants of Yharnam yearned for her blood, so it stands to reason that her blood was special – but in what way? Long after the time of Yharnam the aristocracy of Cainhurst presided. From their castle the King and Queen demanded the homage of the Yharnamite people in the time of Byrgenwerth and the many ground-breaking discoveries that were happening there. Alfred tells us:

Once, a scholar betrayed his fellows at Byrgenwerth and brought forbidden blood back with him to Cainhurst Castle. It was there that the first of the inhuman Vilebloods was born.
- Alfred, Hunter of Vilebloods

While the nobles may have been familiar with blood in various forms prior to this, this scholar brought special forbidden blood back from the tombs of the gods. This blood was given to Queen Annalise who, like Yharnam before her, became known as the Queen of Blood. The blood made her immortal, an undying Queen. Yharnam too appears to have achieved a kind of immortality, but in the same vein as the slumbering Great Ones:

The Queen lies dead, but her horrific consciousness is only
asleep, and it stirs in unsettling motions.
- Yharnam Stone description

What happened next could be considered a case of history repeating itself, as it so often seems to in the world of Bloodborne, a secretive Vileblood order developed around Annalise as she sought to become pregnant with a special Child of Blood, her Vilebloods would hunt Hunters and bring their blood dregs back to the Queen so that she may one day bear the Child of Blood, the next Vileblood heir. The reward for her Vilebloods was to drink deeply of Annalise’s blood, like the servants of Yharnam had wished to do with their Queen. But while Yharnam had become pregnant with a child, Annalise never did. However, Arianna, a descendant of Annalise and the Vilebloods, does become pregnant with a celestial child while residing in Oedon Chapel. Arianna’s child drops a Third Umbilical Cord which reads:

A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye. Every
infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord.
Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a
surrogate, and Oedon, the formless Great One, is no
different. To think, it was corrupted blood that began this
eldritch liaison.
Use to gain Insight and, so they say, eyes on the inside,
although no one remembers what that truly entails.
- Third Umbilical Cord (Arianna) description

The word corrupted is there to draw the parallel to Cainhurst’s corrupted blood detailed in the Corruption Rune, a rune that contains a nuance of blood - in this case forbidden blood. It’s in this description that we can find our answer to why Yharnam’s blood is special and why she is the Queen of Blood. The Third Umbilical Cord speaks of Oedon losing his child and craving a surrogate, so if Arianna gave birth to Oedon’s surrogate, which child did he lose? The rune goes on to say it was corrupted blood that began this eldritch liaison. This line conceals multiple meanings. At face value it likely refers to Arianna, who’s corrupted Cainhurst blood resulted in her being a suitable candidate to birth Oedon’s surrogate, but the meaning is deeper than that – Yharnam also bore a child.

When the Great Ones descend, a womb will be blessed with child.
- Byrgenwerth lore note

Both runes of Oedon increase the amount of blood at the hunter’s disposal, the Formless Oedon rune increases a hunter’s supply of quicksilver bullets (made from a hunter’s blood), while Oedon Writhe replenishes quicksilver bullets with visceral attacks – Yharnam’s powers of blood manipulation are unparalleled, and her supply is seemingly limitless. Oedon is clearly a Great One obsessed with blood:

Both Oedon, and his inadvertent worshippers, surreptitiously
seek the precious blood.
- Formless Oedon Rune description

The servants of both Yharnam and Annalise seek her blood, holding it in worshipful reverence, as if it were the blood of a deity. Oedon too seeks the blood, perhaps because it is required for conception. All these details and connections paint a possible picture. Long ago Yharnam entered a blood contract through an eldritch liaison with the Great One Oedon whose corrupted blood blessed Yharnam with immortality and conceived a special Great One child. While the pregnancy ended with stillbirth and the physical death of the child, the Queen’s consciousness and that of the child persisted on some plane of existence. Many years later the blood of Yharnam would be rediscovered by the Byrgenwerth scholars in their investigations into the tombs of the gods and brought to the Cainhurst nobles, once again beginning the eldritch liaison.

While Yharnam’s child did not survive in the Waking World the pregnancy did produce an important relic:

A great relic, also known as the Cord of the Eye. Every infant Great One has this precursor to the umbilical cord.
Every Great One loses its child, and then yearns for a surrogate. This Cord granted Mensis audience with Mergo,
but resulted in the stillbirth of their brains.
Use to gain Insight and, so they say, eyes on the inside, although no one remembers what that truly entails.
- Third Umbilical Cord (Mergo’s Wet Nurse) description

"Nightmarish rituals crave a newborn. Find one, and silence its harrowing cry."
- Yahar’gul lore note

In the time of the Healing Church, the School of Mensis was able to retrieve the Third Umbilical Cord of Yharnam’s baby Mergo and use it in the Mensis Ritual to contact the baby, whose slumbering consciousness had remained obscured and infantile for an age after Yharnam first carried him. The ritual was a disaster for the Mensis scholars, and left the baby unsettled and crying. In the Nightmare of Mensis, Yharnam is encountered weeping and looking up at source of the newborn’s harrowing cry. She will bow to the hunter when the baby finally settles back to its sleep. Evidently, she felt her baby’s discomfort greatly, and being unable to settle it, shows her gratitude to the hunter who does it in her stead.


Resemblance to Arianna



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